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Film / Raiders of the Lost Ark

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Indiana Jones

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) is the first film in the Indiana Jones series. After the release of its sequels, it has also been retroactively called Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

It takes place a few years before World War II, when Nazi Germany was searching for supernatural artifacts. In this case, they were searching for The Ark of the Covenant, which held the remains of the tablets of the Ten Commandments. After getting word of this, Dr. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford in his second iconic role) is sent to recover it, due to him knowing some people that had clues to where the Ark is held.

This leads him on a wild chase involving fighting bad guys in a burning bar, fighting bad guys on moving trucks, and killer sand ghosts, as well as an old girlfriend, Marion (Karen Allen).

And that's not even taking into account what he has to go through in the prologue, which involves the iconic boulder escape scene.


The film itself was a massive hit, but due to the Troubled Productions of Star Wars, and Jaws, studios were reluctant to fund a film by both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, despite those respective films also being massive hits. Paramount eventually agreed to fund the film, although the series belongs to Lucasfilm (and now to Disney). The production, while having some problems (mainly the majority of the crew being ill in Tunisia), it wrapped ahead of time and on-budget (something Spielberg felt was important). Lawrence Kasdan was brought in to write a screenplay based on ideas born during story meetings between Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan. The screenplay was so good that Lucas asked Kasdan to write the final draft of the first Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back.

Alfred Molina made his film debut, appearing in the opening sequence as Indy's assistant. John Rhys-Davies plays Sallah, Indy's sidekick during the Egypt part of the movie.


Raiders of the Lost Ark contains examples of:

  • Action Dress Rip: Marion when trapped in the Well of Souls with Indy, to use the strips of cloth to light the torches and scare off the snakes.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Belloq telling Indy they're Not So Different in the Arab bar.
  • Action Girl: While she's not quite the asskicker Indy is, Marion saves his ass at least three times in the Bar Brawl alone and rarely passes up the chance to fight back in any way she can.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Toht and Indy both find humor in the fact that the Ark apparently contains only sand. Although Toht was more amused by Belloq's disappointment.
    • Belloq has this reaction to Marion's escape attempt, though he is a bit drunk by that point.
    • During the desert chase scene, both Indy and a Nazi soldier chuckle together at a random civilian slowly sliding across the truck's hood.
  • Affably Evil: Rene Belloq, to the point that he and Marion power through a bottle of grappa and he tries to stop the Nazis from tossing her in the pit.
  • After-Action Patch-Up:
    Marion: Well, goddammit, Indy, where doesn't it hurt?!
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The novelization reveals that Marion was only fifteen years old when she and Indy (who was in his twenties at the time) began their relationship. This explains her "I was a child! It was wrong and you knew it!" comment.
    • The novelization also reveals that the headpiece to the Staff of Ra is engraved with a warning not to look inside the Ark of the Covenant (it's also in the Bible), which is how Indy knew to close his eyes when the Nazis opened it, and the rivalry between Indy and Belloq goes all the way back to graduate school where Belloq stole Indy's research while Indy was conducting his extracurricular activities with his academic advisor's daughter, which also explains why Marion and Belloq are on a first name basis. Finally, the novel also reveals how Indy managed to stow away on a submarine without drowning (he used his whip to tie himself to the periscope.)
  • All There in the Script:
    • Toht's name is only revealed in the credits and in an old TV ad, and much, much later in LEGO Indiana Jones.
    • According to the script, Abner Ravenwood was killed in an avalanche.
    • Also in the novelisation, the base and the U-boat, along with its crew were destroyed by the Ark.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees:
    • Modern archaeologists cringe at our hero's antics, tromping over ancient cultural landmarks with the apparent sole intention of stealing valuable artifacts to add to his university's collectionnote . But back in the day, there really was little difference between archaeologists and graverobbers. They were also employed by intelligence services.
    • There was a real Nazi organization that traveled the world looking for ancient artifacts, the Ahnenerbe.
    • While it did not open until May 1937, the majority of construction was finished on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1936.
  • Amusing Injuries: Marion smashing Indy in the face with the two-way mirror. The scream from Indy that follows makes it all the funnier.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Numerous vehicles, weapons and accessories which did not exist in 1936; this has its own page.
    • Maps appear showing Thailand, which was called Siam until 1939, and Jordan, which was called Transjordan until 1949.
  • Animal Espionage: The Nazis and Belloq attempt to have a monkey spy on Indy, but the attempt fails when it eats a poisoned date and dies. This alerts Sallah, who stops Indy eating one.
  • Apple for Teacher: A student places a green apple on Indy's desk as his class leaves the room.
  • Appropriated Title: The movie was released as just Raiders of the Lost Ark, while all subsequent media in the series features Indy's name in the title. For the sake of consistency, later re-releases labelled the film as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, but in addition to being inelegantly lengthy, this also carries the unfortunate implication that Indy isn't one of the raiders. The original title is still retained onscreen in the movie itself, however.
  • Archaeological Arms Race: This is alluded to, since both the US Army Intelligence and the Nazis might want to use the Ark as a weapon (although it's more of a powerful spiritual artifact than lost technology). More directly to the "arms race" portion, US Intelligence gets wind that Hitler is looking for the Ark, and decides that if he wants it, it's in their best interests to make sure he doesn't get it.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Like all reptiles, snakes are ectothermic animals, meaning they're attracted to sources of outside heat, not warded off by it. Word of God didn't realize this, so a "making of special" shows Steven Spielberg humorously scolding a snake for messing up a scene.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The Nazis have a vast base complete with soldiers and airplanes in Egypt, which was under British occupation at the time.
      • Ditto for the hidden U-Boat base in the Aegean.
    • Tanis, one of the ancient capitals of Egypt, is depicted as having been a lost city since antiquity, which Abner Ravenwood had more or less dedicated his life to locating, and Indy reacts with consternation upon learning that the Nazis have re-discovered it. In real life Tanis has never been a lost city; it was the site of numerous archaeological excavations from the 19th century onwards, long before the film is set.
    • Contrary to what the US government agents say at the beginning of the movie, Hitler was not obsessed with the occult. In fact, historians largely believe that he was for the most part openly scornful of occultism and mysticism, similar to his views on religion.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Marcus speculates that the Nazis want the Ark because "an army that carries the Ark before it is invincible." In the Bible, every time the army of Israel carried the Ark into battle without God's specific direction to do so, they were soundly trounced and usually lost the Ark as well. For the capturing nation, at best, it would remain inert. At worst... well, let's just say it was usually hastily returned, often with a request to please ask the Lord to stop smiting them now. Although Hitler did say several things in real life indicating that he believed he was specifically directed by God to take over the world. Whether it was a lie he used to motivate his followers or he actually believed it is up for debate. Belloq also made the fatal mistake of getting all the ritual gear right but missing the multiple clear warnings not to look in it.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Although the Nazis speak German in many scenes, most of the lines were redubbed for the German versions of the film as the actors spoke very bad German, with a strong American accent. They were redubbed by native German speakers for a DVD release of the film.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The traitorous guide Satipo gets killed by the very traps he helped Jones escape. His buddy Barranca, who tried to kill Indy first, doesn’t fare much better as he gets shot with numerous poisoned darts.
    • Belloq, Toht and Dietrich attempt to tamper with the Ark, with grisly consequences.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Inverted. To avoid the film getting an R rating, the filmmakers had to add a wall of fire to slightly obscure Belloq when his head explodes in the Opening of the Ark scene.
  • Ax-Crazy: Toht is a sadistic man who takes psychopathic glee in attempting to torture Marion with a hot fireplace poker and often relishes in other people's misery by giggling.
  • Backstab Backfire: In the film’s opening scene, Indy has just finished reuniting the two pieces of map when Satipo’s partner Barranca attempts to shoot him in the back. However, Indy hears the gun’s hammer and deploys his whip, knocking the gun out of Barranca’s hand and forcing him to flee.
  • Badass Longcoat: Toht wears a black leather trenchcoat and Nice Hat, even to the broiling Egyptian desert. Man, that Gestapo dress code is strict.
  • Bad Boss: Belloq and even Dietrich have some redeeming qualities, but Toht fits the trope.
    Toht: [watching one of his men grapple with Indy] Shoot them. Shoot them both.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Marion is about to escape from Belloq in the desert, she runs into Toht at the entrance to the tent. Toht then ushers her back in, with some Nazi guards in tow, all the while pulling out a black-and-silver bar-and-chain object from his trenchcoat, and shapes it into a triangle that looks like a torture device... Then he hands it off to a guard who hangs his coat on it, revealing it as a simple coat hanger.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: During the fight in Marion's bar, one of the mooks points a gun at Indy, and there's a gunshot. Indy realizes he isn't hurt, and the mook keels over, revealing Marion behind him holding a smoking gun.
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: Used intentionally to provide "heroic" and "villainous" gunshot motifs. Note that every pistol Indy uses (from his spare 9mm Browning Hi-Power in the bar fight to his trademark revolver) produces the exact same sound, a huge "kaboom" that was actually a recording of a .30-30 rifle.
  • Bar Brawl: Marion's bar is destroyed as the result of one of these, which includes a lot of burning drink and a full-scale shoot-out.
  • Bat Scare: A flock of birds emerges from a statue's mouth, startling one of Indy's jungle porters.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Indy and Marion fight against Toht and his henchmen while surrounded by fire inside the bar.
  • Bear Hug: Sallah gives Indy a big good-bye hug — which Indy would've appreciated more had he not recently gotten the crap beaten out of him by a whole platoon of Nazis.
  • Berserk Button: Don't tell Marion what to do in her own house. Unfortunately, she says this to Nazis.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Technically all three antagonists are working for the Greater-Scope Villain Adolf Hitler, but all three have their own authorities and agendas- Belloq is in charge of the actual archaeological side of things which the other two are clueless about, Dietrich provides the military muscle and is nominally in charge but would be ineffectual without Belloq in his mission, and Toht is more of a specialist Torture Technician probably on loan from either the Gestapo or the SS and not necessarily a subordinate to Dietrich if he is part of a separate command structure. All three die together, killed by the Ark while standing as equals over it, with Belloq- the least powerful- being in the centre of the group between the other two.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Just when Toht is about to torture Marion with a red hot poker, it is ripped from his hand by a bullwhip with Indiana Jones at the other end, ready for battle.
    • A more Played for Laughs example in the bar—Indiana is about to be gunned down when Sallah's children show up to retrieve "Uncle Indy". Belloq finds it amusing enough to hold his fire.
      Belloq: Next time, Dr. Jones, it will take more than children to save you!
    • God Himself after destroying Belloq and The Nazis, also burned the rope that tied Indy and Marion up.
  • Big "NO!": While the Nazis are sliding the stone block to seal off the Well of Souls (with Indy and Marion inside), Marion yells "Noooo!" The sound is abruptly cut off when the block slides into place.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The Nazi officer who finds Indiana at the U-boat base says, in German: "Good day. Tired? Why do you sleep? Wash yourself! And straighten your shirt, so that you don't look like a pig at your court martial. Stand up..." *punch*
    • Before opening the Ark, Belloq recites an actual Jewish prayer that is said when opening the Torah ark in synagogue.
  • Binocular Shot: Indy scans the Nazi dig site with a surveyor's transit to find where the Well of Souls is hidden.
  • Blatant Lies: After the Ark's recovery:
    Major Eaton: We have top men working on it right now.
    Indy: Who?
    Eaton: Top... men.
    • The Ark ends up occupying a storage crate where it is never heard from again until it makes a cameo appearance in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in the Area 51 warehouse.
  • Blood Knight: The Giant Mook Indy fights by the plane. In fact, it works against the interest of the Germans, as at one point the mook knocks Indy down and the pilot gets ready to shoot Indy... but the Giant Mook blocks his shot when he steps forward to continue the fight with Indy.
  • Bloody Horror: The Wrath of God scene at the end of the movie—Toht's face melts with the skin and blood evaporating off his face.
  • Booby Trap: The temple in the opening scene is full of these. Examples include: a light-sensitive spike trap, walls that shoot darts, a Collapsing Lair, and a giant rolling boulder.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Indy kills a Mook on fire with a shot to the head.
  • The Brute: The shirtless Nazi who fights Indy by the plane.
  • Bullet Sparks: During the bar shootout.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A passing mention from one of his students mentions "all that travel" Indy does. Save the world from Nazis on Sunday, midterm on Monday, sure, why not?
  • Chain Lightning: This depiction of the Ark generates an electrical effect that jumps from person to person and even the Nazis' electronic equipment.
  • Chased by Angry Natives: In the opening, after Indy escapes the temple, Belloq sets the Hovitos natives after him for stealing their idol.
  • Chekhov's Gun: During the fight in Marion's bar, Toht tries to grab the medallion from a fire - and, not surprisingly, burns his hand. The burn marks on his hand allow the Nazis to translate one half of the medallion.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Marion's Establishing Character Moment shows her drinking a large, burly brute under the table. She later uses her hard-drinking ability to get Belloq drunk in an attempt to escape from him, while pretending to be drunk herself. Subverted when it turns out Belloq isn't too shabby at holding his liquor himself, forcing her to go to plan B (grab a knife and try to duck out).
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: One of the girls in Indy's class goes so far to write "Love You" on her eyelids to flirt with him. Indy apparently isn't aware of this, as he actually stumbles over his lecture when he sees that and shows no reaction to the other students staring dreamily at him.
  • Coat Cape: How Toht wears his Badass Longcoat while in Egypt searching for the Ark.
  • Cobweb Jungle: The entrance to the Idol Temple is littered with cobwebs complete with absurdly out of place tarantulas. ("Never too-covered" is avoided: as Indy runs from the giant boulder, he goes through a door-wide web).
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    Marion: I'll tell you everything!
    Toht: [advances with red hot poker] Yes, I know you will.
  • Collapsing Lair: The Chachapoyan temple starts collapsing after Indy swaps the golden statue for a bag of sand.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • One of the most famous examples in all of film; Indy, after going through a lengthy fight and chase sequence, is approached by a villainous swordsman who proceeds to show off a few fancy sword moves with his BFS. Indy opts simply to pull out his gun and shoot the swordsman. (This wasn't in the original script and was a suggestion by Harrison Ford who had dysentery at the time of the scene and wasn't up for the scripted fight.)
    • In the scene where he fights the Giant Mook mechanic by the plane, Indy practically runs down a checklist of pragmatic/dirty fighting moves. Pulling a Look, a Distraction! and then launching a surprise attack? Check. Biting? Check. (And bonus points for it not being a last resort either.) A fist full of sand to the eyes? Check. Attempting to reach his fallen gun with the intention of shooting a completely unarmed man? Check! And, finally, Indy "defeats" him by serving as another distraction until the guy realizes too late that he's directly in the path of a spinning propeller.
    • Don't forget the Groin Attack.
    • The Nazi whom Indy fights during the truck chase sends all his mooks first to soften Indy up, before sneaking over the top of the truck so Indy doesn't see him coming, and then he repeatedly targets the bullet wound in Indy's arm.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Jones just happens to have an illustrated Bible at an impromptu meeting with a couple of intelligence people, when neither party had any idea that the Ark was even going to feature in the conversation.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: A lot of these throughout the film actually. The standout examples are:
    • The battle at the flying-wing plane.
    • When Indy's thrown out the truck and trying to hold onto the truck's front.
  • Cutlery Escape Aid: While Marion is drinking brandy with Belloq, she grabs a table knife in order to escape. The attempt fails because of the arrival of Major Toht and the Nazi guards.
  • Dangerous Backswing: During the street fight in Cairo, one of the Mooks accidentally hits his comrade when he winds up to hit Indy with a piece of wood.
  • Dark Is Evil: Toht dresses all in black, and in his first appearance shows him willing to torture Marion with a red-hot poker even after she says she will tell him all he needs to know.
  • The Day the Music Lied: During his fight with the Giant Mook, there's a bit where Indy sees his fallen gun lying on the ground, and a triumphant version of his theme song starts playing, and he tries to go for the gun with the intent of using it to end his fight... and then he's cut off from reaching it and the theme song peters out almost immediately.
  • Dead All Along: After escaping the temple, Indy finds one of the guides from earlier along with several angry natives who knock down to reveal that the guide's back is riddled with arrows.
  • Dead Foot Leadfoot:
    • After Indy shoots the truck driver in Cairo, the truck keeps moving forward until it hits an obstacle and tips over.
    • When Marion knocks out the pilot of the Nazi plane, he slumps forward onto the controls and the plane starts moving forward.
  • Deadly Dust Storm: According to Dr. Marcus Brody, an Egyptian pharaoh took the Ark of the Covenant to the city of Tanis. A year later, Tanis was destroyed by a sand storm that lasted an entire year—"Wiped clean by the wrath of God."
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: One of the most iconic in cinema, when the Giant Mook gets turned to chunky salsa by the airplane propeller.
  • Death by Materialism: A running theme in the Indy series. Here it's Indy's scout in the beginning who seizes the statue but gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice offscreen. Indy then finds his Peek-a-Boo Corpse.
  • Death Course: The temple in the opening sequence is a Malevolent Architecture, including a corridor with arrows shooting from the walls, Spikes of Doom and a giant rolling stone ball.
  • Delaying the Rescue: Indie finds Marion Bound and Gagged in the Nazi camp, but leaves her tied up so he can search for the titular ark without the added complication of search parties looking for Marion.
  • Desperate Object Catch: Sallah grabs a date in midair, just short of Indy's mouth, when Jones casually tosses it up to eat it. A fortunate catch too, as dates from the same bowl had just poisoned the monkey to death in seconds.
  • Deus ex Machina: A literal example, in that God strikes down the Nazis for opening the Ark of the Covenant, defeating them while our heroes are helpless.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Belloq casts his lot in with an organization of anti-Semites hell-bent on eradicating the people who originally built and kept the Ark in deference to their God, all the while gleefully gloating to Indy that the Ark can allow him to communicate with said God. At the end of the day the rabbinical robes and torah reading were comparatively lighter blasphemies...
  • Did They or Didn't They?: "I was a child; I was in love! It was wrong and you knew it!" It's not made clear how far Indy and Marion's relationship went back in the day.
  • Disney Villain Death: Gobler and some Nazi pals wind up flying off a cliff in their car.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: As Indy and Marion are on the ship out of Egypt, Indy is looking in one side of a double-sided mirror. Marion, looking in the other side, flips it around, banging Indy hard in the face. Cut to a distant shot of the ship with Indy's scream of pain audible.
    Marion: What'd you say?
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Marion is usually barefoot from pretty much the instant they leave Nepal.
  • Doomed New Clothes: The dress Marion gets from Belloq gets burned, shredded, and dirtied in the escape from the Well of Souls.
  • Doomed Predecessor: At the beginning, Indiana Jones is well aware he's not the first person to find the lost temple in Peru. When he finds it, he says "This is it. This is where Forrestall cashed in." While navigating the temple, Indy intentionally triggers a spike trap to find Forrestall's corpse impaled on it.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Double Subverted. The first guard Indy knocks out in the sub pen is too skinny for his shirt to fit. Fortunately, a larger specimen turns up to scold him for being "out of uniform"...
  • Durable Deathtrap: The deathtraps in the temple avert this, as they're apparently maintained by the Hovitos. (Someone had to reset the spike trap that got Forrestal.)
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
  • Ethereal Choir: The Ark theme includes this when the moments get really dramatic.
  • Eureka Moment: Indy sees all the light sources and cameras the Nazis set up exploding and realizes the Ark doesn't want to be looked upon. (Perhaps making the connection to 1 Samuel 6:19).
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The iconic temple cold open is basically one long example of this for Indy.
    • "Dr. Jones. Again you see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away. And you thought I'd given up." Belloq's entire personality and shared history with Indy laid out in three sentences.
    • Marion drinking a huge mountain climber under the table and then punching Indy in the face.
    • The first thing Major Toht does after giving up his pretense of affability is to go for a hot fire poker and have his men hold Marion still - not so he can extract the information from her through torture, but just because he can.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Belloq isn't pleased with Toht tossing Marion in the Well of Souls. And rivalry (and prior attempts to kill and steal from him) aside, he seems to generally admire and respect Indy, even openly acknowledging that Indy is better. When the Well of Souls is sealed he can't even manage a Bond One-Liner, and simply bids him a melancholy "adieu."
    • Oberst Herman Dietrich is disgusted by Simon Katanga's implied desire to sell Marion into sexual slavery, although Katanga is deliberately lying to him to buy Indy time to escape. And that objection might be more ideological than humanitarian; a Nazi would hardly like the idea of a black man having sexual authority over a white woman.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: University professor Indy is being openly lusted over by all his female students, and then one of the males leaves an apple on his desk.
  • Evil Laugh: Belloq, after sending the Hovitos to kill an escaping Indiana.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through!: Averted, as Indy has to fight the crowd when Marion is kidnapped by Nazis.
  • Facial Horror: Belloq, Toht, and Dietrich really shouldn't have looked inside the Ark.
  • Fanservice: A captive Marion undressing after Belloq gives her a dress, giving us a brief glimpse of her bare back in his mirror. The dress also does very nice things for her gams.
  • Fatal MacGuffin: During the climax, the Nazis take Jones and Marion to an area where the Ark will be opened and tie them to a post to observe. Dressed as an Israelite kohen gadol, Belloq performs a ceremonial opening of the Ark by invoking a standard Sabbath prayer, and finds it full of sand, possibly all that is left of the Ten Commandments. As Jones warns Marion to keep her eyes shut, spirits emerge from the Ark, eventually revealing themselves to be angels of death. Flames then form above the opened Ark and bolts of energy shoot through the gathered Nazi soldiers, killing them all. In the extreme heat, Dietrich's head shrivels up; all the flesh on Toht's face melts off his skull; and Belloq's head explodes. Flames then engulf and vaporize the remains of the doomed assembly, save for Jones and Marion, in a whirlwind of fire before the Ark seals itself shut.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The first thing we see of Belloq is his booted feet stepping over Barranca's darted body and walking up to Indy.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Before leaving America, Indy expresses his disbelief in the supernatural to Marcus, notable after the fact because he told his class a few hours ago to not ignore folklore surrounding dig sites, and he immediately writes off all mysticism and faith-based info surrounding the Ark. Doubled down on after the release of Temple of Doom, in which Indy witnesses relatively conclusive evidence of supernatural religious phenomena. Possibly Justified if he's just trying to pull some Obfuscating Stupidity and not wanting word to get out in academia that the famous archaeologist Indiana Jones 100% believes in the existence of the supernatural.
  • Follow the Chaos: After he has seen Indy buried alive in the Well of Souls, Belloq looks around at the burning airfield and destroyed plane.
    Belloq: Jones!
  • Forced Friendly Fire: Played with in the bar fight when Indiana Jones is wrestling for a gun with a mook. When a second mook gets the order to shoot them both, Indy and his adversary work together to fire off several shots at the second mook.
  • Foreign Cuss Word:
    • Gobler yells "Ah, Scheisse!" when getting rammed off the road by Indy. The sergeant on the truck growls the same after losing his last guy.
    • And Belloq five minutes later uttering "putain!" when his driver restarts the car while he's still standing in it and throws him off balance.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When the film goes to all that effort to reveal so many deadly booby traps in the jungle temple and that they all still work, it's inevitable that they're going to get set off and additional unseen deadly traps will be released.
    • We don't really see outright supernatural stuff in the film, until the Ark is on the cargo ship, and the box containing it suddenly gets partly burned, blackening out the swastika. Considering what happens later, the swastika got off easy.
    • Also, the wind picks up when Sallah and Indy merely discuss the Ark. Plus lightning crackling across the sky when it is removed from the ground, subtle hints God is less than pleased.
    • The propeller from the plane comes into play twice before it slices the Giant Mook to pieces. First, before taking on the Giant Mook, Indy fights a regular sized mechanic who attacks him with a wrench. The fight ends just after Indy wrestles the wrench into the path of the propeller, which cuts off the head of the wrench. The second time, Indy himself almost runs head-first right into the propeller during the middle of their fight.
    • Major Toht burns his hand horribly when he grabs the medallion out of the fire in Marion's bar. He really should have learned his lesson the first time, because the next time he touches a sacred artifact, the consequences for him are even more severe.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Major Toht, the Gestapo torturer, wears a pair of round spectacles.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look carefully at the shot where the Germans are disembarking from the submarine you'll notice that Marion's guard has one arm in a sling and is covered in bandages.
  • French Jerk: Belloq, a French archaeologist working for the Nazis.
  • Fresh Clue: In the Action Prologue Indiana is leading an archaeological expedition in the Peruvian jungle. They find a poison dart and one of the bearers, Satipo, tastes the tip and determines how close the local indigenous tribe is.
    Satipo: The Hovitos are near. (tastes the dart, then spits) The poison is still fresh. Three days. They're following us.
  • Fruit Cart: Inevitably destroyed at the chase scene on the Cairo market.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: When Indy and Marion are attacked in the marketplace, Marion grabs a large iron frying pan off a stall and knocks out one of the attackers with it.
  • Giant Mook: The really big Sherpa in Marion's bar, and the mechanic who gets diced, both played by Pat "Bomber" Roach.
  • Giggling Villain: Toht. Added with his sexually impotent rapist personality who uses torture to vent his frustrations...
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Marion and Belloq having a drinking game while she is held hostage. Despite her obvious intentions of escaping, judging by their laughing, they are having fun in doing so, Belloq even laughing when Marion pulls a knife on him.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The Ark, or more specifically the One who's powering it.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The camera cuts away as the Giant Mook gets turned into red paste, only showing the splash of blood on a swastika. This is occasionally edited out of broadcast versions, but it's anyone's guess if they're editing out the blood or the swastika itself. The mook who is run over by Indy's truck gets a Scenery Censor, as well. Averted at the very end of the film, however. During most of the film, though, the writers love creative ways of including gore.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Hitler never appears, but his Nazis' plot to find the Ark is all part of his plan for world domination.
    • In the novelization Belloq gets to meet Hitler for a short briefing before setting out to find the Ark for him. However this is described as Offscreen Villainy as it is just narrated through Belloq's memories of the meeting a few moments before.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: During the bar fight, Indy asks Marion for a bottle of whiskey, which he smashes on the mook holding him against the bar.
  • Groin Attack: Indy tries it on the Giant Mook during the flying wing fight and fails. He tries it later on a Nazi officer in a U-Boat base and succeeds.
  • A Handful for an Eye: During the flying wing fight, the Giant Mook knocks Indy to the ground and he scoops up an handful of sand which he throws in the mook's face.
  • Hand Signals:
    • Indy gestures to Satipo to turn around so he can brush a bunch of tarantulas off his back.
    • Belloq uses the throat-slash to tell the Hovitos to kill Indy.
  • The Heavy: Belloq is at most in a Big Bad Duumvirate, but is effectively the main antagonist.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason the Nazis were obliterated by The Ark is because it destroys those who witness its power. Indy and Marion are spared only because they kept their eyes shut.
  • Heroes Fight Barehanded: Subverted: After beating the asses of several opponents, Indy is sick of fighting. So when another opponent steps up with swords, Indy just pulls a revolver on him.
  • High-Speed Hijack: Indy hijacks the truck carrying the Ark of the Covenant from horseback, then uses it to bust up the rest of the convoy.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The Nazis were nowhere near as interested in the occult as the film portrays. Hitler especially thought it was nonsense and insisted that National Socialism was rational and scientific, contrary to what the film claims about him. Individual Nazis who were occult fans like Heinrich Himmler and Alfred Rosenberg had zero interest in recovering Jewish artifacts like the Ark of the Covenant, but instead wanted to validate their Neo-Pagan Nordic beliefs as well as to fund expeditions to Tibet (partly due to Hitler's interest in Asian mysticism). Even these expeditions were led by a rationalist scientist named Ernst Schaefer who was more interested in collecting animal and plant samples for study than in validating any of Himmler's pseudoscientific theories.
    • The film is set in 1936, before World World II broke out and when Germany was still insecure in its military, yet the Germans have secret submarine bases in Greece and can freely mount archaeological expeditions in British-occupied Egypt backed by an entire German legion, even openly wearing German uniforms and parading the Swastika. Had anything like the events of this film actually happened at this time, the British and likely the French would probably have declared war on Germany immediately.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Nazis succeed in their goal of smuggling the Ark out of Egypt, but its power turns out to be too great for them to harness. In the climax, all of the villains—Dietrich, Toht, Belloq, and all of their Mooks—are melted alive by the Ark's power as soon as they open it.
  • Hollywood Density: The gold idol at the start of the film, which should weigh far too much to be toted around as easily as it is, let alone weigh about the same as a small bag of sand. When Indy looks at it, he actually removes sand from his bag to approximate its weight. A solid gold object of that size would weigh at least 50 lb / 23 kg. However, it's never explicitly stated that the idol is indeed solid gold.
  • Hollywood Natives: The Hovitos in the Chased by Angry Natives opening, complete with blowguns, spears and a nasty attitude.
  • Holy Is Not Safe: The Ark of the Covenant, as in the original scriptures, is quite deadly to those who treat it irreverently.
  • Hot for Teacher: Indy has to deal with this back at the university, and manages to take the high road.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Toht dismissively accuses Americans of overdressing for the wrong situations... while wearing a three-piece black suit, complete with black leather overcoat and black hat... in the middle of the desert.
  • I Lied: When Indy takes the idol from the temple, the temple collapses and Indy must cross a gap with Satipo (who has the whip) on the other side. Satipo promises to throw Indy's whip to him if Indy tosses the idol over. Satipo then refuses to give Indy the whip and runs away with the idol.
  • Immune to Drugs:
    • Not drugs, per se, but Marion's ability to drink seasoned heavyweights under the table comes up twice. She doesn't even come across tipsy either time. This is especially impressive the first time, when her opponent passes out and it takes her more than one trip just to move all the shot glasses she used back to the bar.
    • Unfortunately for Marion, Belloq has the same superpower, at least where his family's eau-de-vie is concerned.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: "Adios, Satipo." Forrestal, a rival of Indy's bit it to the same trap years before, leaving his remains as a Peek-a-Boo Corpse. Indy's scout suffers the same fate.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms:
    • Various soldiers and other armed militants are equipped with Walther P38 pistols or MP40 submachine guns, guns that did not exist in 1936. The MP40 was first produced in 1940 and the P38 was first produced in 1938.
    • Indy is at two separate points seen with variations of the Browning Hi-Power; the first time, in the bar shoot-out, is a bit of a stretch but still at least possible (the weapon had entered production the year before, though at the time every one of them was for military contracts, on top of FN reaching an agreement with Colt to not sell the pistol in the United States). The second time on the Bantu Wind is pure Anachronism Stew, however—he's using a Canadian variant, the Inglis Hi-Power (distinguished by a noticeable hump below the rear sight) that didn't enter production until 1944.
    • German soldiers use Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles, introduced in 1935 so it is conceivable they could be out of the country by 1936, but they would more likely carry the Mauser Gewehr 98 at that time.
    • Near the climax of the movie, Jones is seen holding a Soviet RPG-2 rocket launcher, which was not produced until 1949. No military even had handheld or shoulder-fired rocket launchers in 1936; they came about during the war to replace the older anti-tank rifles.
  • Indy Escape: Indy running from the rolling boulder.
  • Indy Ploy: Lampshaded. Indiana Jones is, of course, the Trope Namer.
    Indiana: Meet me at Omar's. Be ready for me. I'm going after that truck.
    Sallah: How?
    Indiana: I don't know, I'm making this up as I go!
  • Island Base: An island in the Aegean Sea is the site of a secret Nazi U-Boat base.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Oberst Hermann Dietrich is in charge of the quest for The Ark of the Covenant, but his advisor, Dr. Rene Belloq, is Indiana Jones' long-time nemesis. Indiana also sees Dietrich as just another Nazi among many, but Belloq as what Indy himself could have become with no moral scruples.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Belloq is absolutely right that Indy could have walked out with the idol at the start if he'd bothered to ingratiate himself with the natives. And also that in this case there is really nothing separating Indy from him. What actually makes them different comes up later, as Indy would never associate himself with Nazi Germany for profit and glory.
  • Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras: A kookaburra sound can be heard in the Action Prologue when Indy is looking for treasure in the Amazon.
  • Just Plane Wrong:
    • Indy flies out of San Francisco on a Short Solent 3, first flown in 1946, which makes stopovers at Honolulu (Hawaii), Wake Island, Manila (Philippines) and finally arriving at Nepal (possibly Kathmandu). All of these non-stop flight stretches (ranging from 2,300-3,000 miles) are way too long for the Short Solent's maximum range of approximately 1800 miles (the Solent was representing the Martin M-130 China Clipper, which crashed in 1945. Its range was 3,200 miles, for reference). And unless Indy caught a connecting flight in Manila, he couldn't have taken the Solent 3 to Kathmandu; the Solent, like the M-130, was a flying boat—it has no landing gear so it can't land on a conventional runway.
    • Indy and Marion travel from Nepal to Egypt on a Douglas DC-3. The DC-3 first flew on December 17, 1935, and the first ones were delivered in 1936. Most of the 300–400 DC-3s in service were flying for American, Eastern, United, and TWA airlines in 1936, and it would have been highly unlikely to find one flying between Nepal to Egypt then. It also makes stopovers at Karachi (Pakistan—part of India in 1936), Baghdad (Iraq) and finally arriving in Cairo. With the exception of the Baghdad-Cairo stretch (about 800 miles), all of these flight stretches (which range from 1,200 to 1,500 miles) are way too long for the DC-3's maximum range of approximately 1,000 miles.
  • Karma Houdini: The evil eyepatch-wearing owner of the monkey vanishes from the film unscathed. The monkey isn't as lucky.
  • Karmic Death: Delivered en masse to Belloq and the entire Nazi group that searched the Ark, who end up being wiped out by the very thing they wanted to use as a weapon of mass destruction. For additional karma, it was the jewish deity that carried out this deed.
  • Kick the Dog: Frustrated after losing the Ark to Indy, Colonel Dietrich throws an offered watermelon from a merchant at an off-screen dog.
  • Kill It with Fire: Indy used this to clear out the snakes in the Well Of Souls by pouring gasoline all over them and lighting it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Major Toht threatens Marion with a hot poker. Later, in the bar, he tries to grab the medallion in the fire and gets his hand burned, and much later, he suffers a painful death involving fire from God.
    • There is also the guide who abandoned Indy and ran off with the statue and is soon impaled by one of the traps in the temple.
  • Lecture as Exposition: The Infodump when Jones meets the government men. It has become so iconic that George Lucas refers to it as "the pointer scene".
  • Look, a Distraction!: Indy does it to the Giant Mook mechanic he fights near the plane.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: When Marion is dumped into the tomb, she manages to hold on to a statue but loses a shoe during the fall which lands amidst a heap of poisonous snakes.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: It happens twice in the movie — first with the idol in the Amazon and then with the Ark itself — that Indy runs all the risks to retrieve a valuable artifact, only for Belloq to be waiting at the entrance to take it off him.
    Belloq: Again, Dr. Jones, what was briefly yours is now mine.
  • Made of Incendium: Marion's bar catches fire incredibly quickly. Granted, it appears to be mostly wood construction with quite a bit of cloth, but unless her patrons are extremely rowdy and make a habit of spilling whole bottles' worth of her very highest-proof spirits (most liquors are not flammable) absolutely everywhere to make the fire spread as quickly as it does, there's no reason the entire structure should have burned down other than Rule of Cool.
  • Magic Countdown: During the opening scene in the dungeon, when the stone door is about to close down in front of Indy, time seems to stand still until Indy manages to sneak through under the door.
  • Man on Fire: Indy sets one of Toht's men on fire in the bar shoot-out. The guy runs around screaming for several seconds before Indy gives him a Boom, Headshot!.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": All the German characters and Belloq after the Ark is opened and the spirits turn on them.
  • Match Cut: The Paramount logo in the beginning transitions into a mountain from South America.
  • Mayincatec: The trap infested Hovitos underground temple is one of the best-remembered trapped lairs of all time.
  • Meaningful Name: Major Toht's name is an Anglicised spelling of the German word for death.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: It works!
  • Men Can't Keep House: Indy's house is better than most but still disorganized and disheveled and when he and Marcus have a drink to celebrate Indy going after the Ark the glasses are mismatched.
  • Mobstacle Course: Indy does this to chase Marion-in-a-basket.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: It rates a 7 (arguably a hard one), due to Satipo's (Alfred Molina) corpse being shown, bloodily impaled through the bare forehead and neck by spikes, the Ratty Nepalese's (Malcolm Weaver) blood-spurting headshot, the German Mechanic (Pat Roach) being ground up by an aeroplane propeller (offscreen), with blood splattering all over the side of the aircraft, Colonel Herman Dietrich's (Wolf Kahler) imploding head, Arnold Ernst Toht's (Ronald Lacey) face melting off, and René Emile Belloq's (Paul Freeman) head exploding.
  • The Mole: A monkey is the Mole.
  • Moment Killer: Indy and Marion share a Big Damn Kiss during Indy's After-Action Patch-Up - and then Indy conks out from exhaustion.
    Marion: We never seem to get a break, do we?
  • Monochrome Apparition: White specters appear when the Ark is opened.
  • Mood Whiplash: Indy and Sallah are jubilant when they realize that Belloq has incorrect information due to only having part of the information describing the staff of Ra, and thus the location in the map room. The mood suddenly chills when Sallah barely saves Indy from being poisoned seeing the dead monkey holding a half-eaten date.
  • Mook–Face Turn: The Giant Mook Indy grapples with in Marion's bar gives a very startled "HUH?" when Toht orders everyone in the bar be killed, and immediately helps Indy gun down his Nazi lieutenants. It doesn’t last very long since they continue fighting once that’s done.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Gobler. Also, there is a tough Nazi sergeant who gives Indy some difficulty during the truck chase.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Zig-zagged. When Indy reaches the secret Nazi sub base, he quickly knocks out a guard and takes his uniform... which is so ill-fitting on him that he can't even button it. Worse, he's quickly set upon by a German sergeant... who seems to accept Indy as a fellow soldier and merely berates him for his shoddy uniform. But the sergeant is starting to ask questions... so Indy knocks him out as well and puts on his uniform, which fits perfectly.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Major Toht's name is German for "death."
  • Native Guide: Downplayed, but Indy is accompanied by two shady local guides during the opening quest set in the Peruvian jungle.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles:
    • Indy sees Marion getting carried off in a straw basket, and chases her into the square—which is crammed with people carrying identical baskets. He just goes for knocking them all open until he hears her shouting elsewhere.
    • At the end of the movie, the Ark is put in a nondescript wooden crate and hidden in a warehouse full of other identical, nondescript wooden crates.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Especially when the actor with the gun is sick and wants to get the scene over with.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: An early trailer shows one of the booby traps protecting the Golden Idol, but makes it seem that this is in fact protecting the Ark itself.
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: A Nazi agent played by Dennis Muren, one of the men behind Industrial Light and Magic, follows Indy on his flight from America, watching him from behind a copy of Life magazine. This unnamed character is sometimes mistaken for Major Toht.
  • Nice Hat: Indy's hat provides the page illustration for Fedora of Asskicking. Toht (black fedora) and Belloq (who gets to wear both a pith helmet and a panama hat) give villainous examples.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Marion's captivity with Belloq.
  • Not So Different: Belloq makes occasional references to sharing Jones' devotion to archaeology. He even deduces that Jones won't destroy the Ark because, just like Belloq himself, he can't resist knowing what's inside.
  • One-Liner: "Bad dates."
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Marion has one when she sees Toht approaching her with the red-hot poker from her bar's fire.
    • Indy's reaction when he sees the huge Nazi mechanic challenging him to a fight. And then the mechanic himself just before being sliced to pieces by the propeller.
    • Indy and Marion during said fight when they see the spilled petrol spreading towards the fire in the distance.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Jock's first line has something resembling an Aussie accent. His second line doesn't.
  • Our Angels Are Different: They don't have wings or legs and are transparent like ghosts, but are otherwise fairly humanoid looking, until they put on their Game Face and utterly destroy you for defying God's will.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: There are a few of these throughout the movie, the first one is when Indy triggers a spike trap, revealing the body of a Doomed Predecessor. The second one is the body of Indy's treacherous guide who fell into the same trap. The third one is in the Well of Souls when Marion explores the other chamber only to discover that the room is filled with screaming rotting corpses.
  • Perpetual Storm: After an Egyptian pharaoh took the Ark of the Covenant to the city of Tanis, the city was destroyed by a sandstorm that lasted an entire year (note that this did not occur in Real Life).
  • Psycho for Hire: Major Toht the Gestapo officer who's a Bad Boss to his mooks and is happy to torture people for information.
  • Punch-Clock Hero/Punch-Clock Villain: Although they both have their own agendas, Dr. Jones and Dr. Belloq are officially hired hands for someone in their quest for the Ark (Indy works for the U.S.A and Belloq for Germany).
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: The giant German mechanic.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Top. Men." It's used to make it clear that who the top men are won't be revealed—because, of course, there aren't any; as the end credits roll, we can clearly see that the ark has been boxed up and stored in a huge warehouse.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Scimitar-wielder vs. gun-wielder? Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight!
    • The traps in the temple at the beginning aren’t Ragnarok Proofed they’re maintained by the Hovitos to keep people like Indiana out.
    • When someone gets Mugged for Disguise, there's no guarantee that it will fit the mugger.
    • The Nazis learn far, far too late that if God explicitly tells you not to mess with something, then it probably isn't a good idea to mess with it. Especially when you believe that you can weaponize his power for your own agenda. God kind of has a history of punishing people who believed themselves to be greater than him. The Nazis are, of course, no exception.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles:
    • Belloq speaks to the Hovitos in their native language, presumably telling them how great he is to have retrieved their holy object.
    • While Indy and Sallah are infiltrating the Nazi archeological dig, German soldiers repeatedly speak in German to them.
    • While Indy, Sallah and the Egyptian workers are digging up and opening the Well of Souls, the workers sing a work song in Arabic and Sallah repeatedly speaks to the workers in Arabic to supplement Indy's instructions, all with no translation.
    • While Indy is trying to capture the Nazi flying wing, the huge guard calls out to the pilot in German.
    • While Indy is trying to steal the truck carrying the Ark of the Covenant, the German soldiers guarding it speak repeatedly to each other in German.
    • During the U-boat's journey to the island, the Nazi sailors aboard talk to each other in German.
    • Once the U-boat arrives at the island, the soldiers in the port and a PA system speak in German.
    • After Indy sneaks into the secret Nazi island base, he performs a Mugged for Disguise on a Nazi soldier for the purpose of Dressing as the Enemy. Before he's completely dressed a Nazi officer discovers him and starts criticizing him (in untranslated German) because he's out of uniform.
    • During the ceremony where the Ark is opened, Belloq speaks ceremonial words in Aramaic (with mangled pronunciation).
  • Reasoning with God: Belloq tells Indy that the Ark is a 'transmitter' and a 'radio for speaking to God'; presumably his intense desire to open it before it reaches Hitler is so he can have his own personal tete-a-tete with the Almighty. He never considered the fact that God might not be so interested in hearing what's on his mind... though he probably did get his conversation with God in the end.
  • Red Herring: Marion's introduction has her drinking a giant mountain climber under the table, establishing she has an iron liver. When in the tent with Belloq, she attempts the same drinking challenge with him. Unfortunately, Belloq's family actually make brandy and actually grew up drinking the moonshine he brought, and has the same iron liver.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Indy and Belloq, respectively.
  • Retronym: Was originally released as just Raiders of the Lost Ark, but once Indiana Jones became an established series with a title scheme, this title was changed to match.
  • Revealing Reflection: As Indy is driving the truck carrying the Lost Ark of the Covenant, he looks in his rear-view mirrors and sees German soldiers climbing along the outside of the truck toward the cab so they can attack him.
  • Rival Turned Evil: Belloq reveals himself as throwing in his lot with the Nazis.
  • Satellite Character: Mook Lieutenant Gobler, Dietrich's ever-present second in command. Even the novelization emphasizes Gobler as "Dietrich's shadow" and little else.
  • Self-Plagiarism: The gag of a torture device that turns out to be a coat hanger was taken from a deleted scene from Spielberg's previous film, 1941.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The given length of the staff of Ra (about five feet) indicates that Harrison Ford is 3-4 feet tall, seeing how the staff towers over him.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The German plane mechanic knocked out by Indy during the tarmac brawl. After waking up to spilling oil around the plane, the injured technician immediately books it with plenty of time left to avoid the inevitable explosions.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Belloq seals Indy and Marion in the snake-filled Well of Souls.
  • Second-Face Smoke: Marion does this to Toht. Bad idea.
  • Secret Government Warehouse: Seen at the end of the movie.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Oh boy does the pilot of the flying wing have it. He fails to notice Indy sneaking around his plane, doesn't hear the first mechanic first challenging Indy or the sounds of the two of them fighting, (a fight which includes the mechanic's wrench hitting the plane, the head of the wrench being cut off by the plane's propeller, and the mechanic being knocked out due in part to getting his head bounced off the plane) but the instant the second mechanic (the Giant Mook) calls out to Indy, the pilot whips around in surprise to see what's going on. See for yourself.
  • The Series Has Left Reality: While Indiana Jones is exploring the native temple, he comes across a trap that operates on the principle of an "electric eye" device. When a beam of sunlight is interrupted, the trap sends out spears that impale whoever broke the beam. It is absolutely impossible for the primitive technology of the natives to accomplish such a feat. It would take modern electronic equipment to do so.
  • Shadow Archetype: Belloq. He even gives Indy a minor Hannibal Lecture in the middle of a crowded bar. Doubles as a Smug Snake.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Indy and the Nazis' fighting over the Ark of the Covenant is rendered moot when the wrath of God completely wipes the latter out once they finally open it, and then the Ark ends up 'buried' once again, this time hidden in a massive warehouse as a victim of indifferent government bureaucracy.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Indy shoots out the lock on the flying wing's cockpit so Marion can escape.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At the scene where Indy and Sallah get the ark, you can see C-3PO and R2-D2 carved on a column behind Indy if you look hard enough.
    • The booby-trapped statue and boulder-chase scene are taken from the Scrooge McDuck comics-story "The Seven Cities of Cibola" by Carl Barks.
    • Sallah sings snippets of two songs from H.M.S. Pinafore, "I am the monarch of the sea" and "A British tar."
    • The plane waiting for Indy at the beginning of the film has a registration number. It's "OB-CPO", an obvious reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi and C-3PO from Star Wars.
    • The plane's starting-up sound is the Millennium Falcon's hyperdrive sputtering-out sound.
  • Slasher Smile: A rare heroic version of this occurs when Indy uncovers the Well of Souls, though it's intended to prove Belloq's comments about the two men's similarities.
  • Smug Smiler: Toht, even when Dr. Jones threatens to destroy the Ark with a bazooka.
  • Smug Snake: Belloq. The man's first line is the infamous statement, "Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away."
  • Soundtrack Lullaby: After retrieving the ark from the Nazis, Indy is getting an After Action Patch Up from Marion which leads to the two starting to get amorous, the orchestra building up the Love Theme trails off with a celesta as Indy's exhaustion finally catches up with him.
  • Spider Swarm: As Indy and Satipo are exploring the South American temple, Satipo's back becomes covered with tarantulas, which Indy brushes off. Tarantulas are usually solitary.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Title: Raiders of the Lost Ark was renamed to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Stab the Salad: When Toht interrupts Marion and Belloq, he brings out what looks like a flail of some kind—several lengths of wood or metal joined by short pieces of chain. Belloq and Marion cringe as Toht starts to twist it into a shape, only for Toht to create a hanger for his coat.
  • Stalling the Sip: Indy picks up a poisoned date and has a lot "near misses" with attempting to eat it. Just as he tosses it in the air to catch in his mouth, he is saved when his friend Sallah catches it mid-air because he had seen the monkey that was also eating the dates succumb to the poison.
    Sallah: Bad Dates.
  • Stock Footage: The footage of the airplane flying over Asia is taken from the 1973 version of Lost Horizon. The Establishing Shot of 1930s Washington, D.C. is from The Hindenburg.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The first major sign that things are going wrong to Belloq, who knows only one man could be causing that much chaos even after Belloq sealed him in the Wells of Souls: "Jones!"
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: A minor case, but that flying wing was definitely not in the arsenal of the Luftwaffe at any point in history.
  • Sundial Waypoint: The purpose of the Map Room scene is to make use of this trope.
  • Surprise Creepy: The film had several suspenseful scenes, and a few bloody deaths, but it's still pretty lighthearted up until the ark ghosts that appeared and the massacre of Nazis took that up to eleven with its dark and gory imagery.
  • Swallowed a Fly: In the last few minutes of the film, during the rocket launcher face-off, Belloq is clearly seen to have a fly crawling across his face and into his mouth.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: One villain attempts to poison Indy with some substance poured on dates.
  • Tap on the Head
    • Marion Ravenwood
      • She takes out a mook with a burning log to the back of the head during the bar fight in Nepal.
      • In Cairo she's pursued into a building by a mook and knocks him out (off camera) with a frying pan.
      • While Indy is fighting the Nazis around the flying wing, she KO's the pilot with the plane's wheel chocks.
    • Indiana Jones knocks out two Nazi guards with the "punch to the jaw" technique to steal their uniforms so he can perform Dressing as the Enemy. In the second of these, there are two clearly audible blows after Dr. Jones hauls the guard over the pile of boxes, so it's "Taps".
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine:
    • Toht nearly brands Marion with the red-hot iron. He ends up branding his own hand when grabbing the medallion while it was red-hot.
    • On the truck the German sergeant beats Indy senseless, throws him through the windshield, and tries to run him over. Indy returns and delivers the same treatment on the guy and he's the one who gets runs over.
  • Tempting Fate: Shortly after recovering the Ark from the Wells of Souls, Colonel Dietrich is seen drinking and offers Belloq a drink, toasting to "Our success in the desert", not knowing that at that very moment Indy is in the middle of trying to spoil their success by hijacking the plane to be used to fly the Ark out. Belloq, for his part, refuses to tempt fate and says that he'll only drink to success "When we are very far from here."
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Usually plays when Indy does something awesome, such as the part where he swings to safety from the angry natives or where he successfully knocks down the statue in the Well of Souls.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: One of Indy's treacherous guides had his back completely riddled with poison darts from the Hovitos.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Well, less "man will go insane from looking inside this artifact" and more "God will send His angels of death to murder the shit out of you and your entire army in extremely gruesome fashion if you look inside the artifact against His will."
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Indy has this reaction when he turns and sees the Giant Mook who's challenging him to a fight.
  • Throat-Slitting Gesture: Belloq telling the Hovitos to kill Indy.
  • Timmy in a Well: A German agent in Cairo who wears an eye patch and has a pet monkey. The monkey sees an escaping Marion trying to hide in a basket, jumps on the basket and screeches, calling the German agents to capture her. Also, at one point it gives a Nazi salute.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Satipo (Alfred Molina), Indy's South American traitorous guide at the beginning. He just forgot about the trap Indy discovered moments earlier.
    • The Nazis make sure not to touch the Ark and even wear the appropriate ceremonial outfit, but apparently missed that the same passages these precautions come from explicitly say that if you look into it you will die. Then they forget the passages that say not to touch the Ark when they touch the Ark by removing the lid to open it. This is all on top of the fact that they apparently forget that they're trying to harness the power of an artefact owned by a God whose people they're actively trying to wipe off the face of the earth.
  • Toplessness from the Back: What the audience sees in Belloq's mirror in Marion's changing in the tent sequence.
  • Tribal Face Paint: The Hovitos Indians at the beginning of the movie.
  • Underside Ride: During the truck chase, Indy gets thrown out of the windshield of his truck. He manages to grab onto the grille, but the driver attempts to crush him using the car ahead. To avoid this, Indy hangs on to the bottom of the truck, lets himself down to the back, and climbs back on.
  • Vapor Trail: Happens by accident during the scene with the flying wing due to a series of minor mistakes. Marion unchocks the wheel of the flying wing to use the chocks as a weapon against a Mook, and the plane starts to turn in place and its wingtip punctures a fuel truck. Next, Marion uses the plane's machine gun turret to keep Nazi reinforcements at bay and stuff catches fire. The fuel pouring out of the truck eventually reaches the blaze, Indy rescues Marion and they run for cover, and then the whole airstrip explodes.
  • Villainous Valour: A German mechanic wants to fight Indy in a one-on-one fistfight even on a moving plane, and several German soldiers are ready to climb a fast-moving truck to reach Indy.
  • Watching the Reflection Undress: Marion steps behind a screen to change into the dress provided by Belloq but he (and the audience) just happens to have a mirror that reveals her behind it.
  • A Way Out of a Cave-In: Indy finds the hidden room in the Well of Souls by noticing that the snakes are coming into the main room from holes along one wall.
  • Weapon Twirling: The infamous scene where a swordsman shows off and Indy just shoots him.
  • We Have Reserves: During the Nepal bar brawl, Indy is struggling against one of Toht's burly mooks. Toht, however, tells one of his other mooks to "Shoot them. Shoot them both." This has the hilarious effect of making both Indy and the big mook stop to shoot the other mook.
  • Weight and Switch: After dodging a floor full of pressure traps to get to the idol, Indy guesses that the idol itself might be on another one, so he swaps it for a bag he's filled with sand to approximately the same weight. After a moment when it seems to have worked, the ledge sinks and more traps go off.
  • Wham Shot:
    • While the Ark sits inside a Nazi crate during transport a lingering shot of the crate's exterior shows the swastika gracing it slowly burn off. This is the first unambiguously supernatural occurrence in the film, and doubles as foreshadowing for what the Nazis have in store when they decide to open the Ark.
    • After the feds have taken possession of the Ark against Indy's objections, it's sealed in a nondescript crate and wheeled into the ginormous warehouse among thousands upon thousands of identical, nondescript crates.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the German agent with the eye patch poisons the dates he completely disappears. He isn't even shown mourning his monkey, who was accidentally killed by eating the dates.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Trope Namer. The Well of Souls is completely crawling in a carpet of snakes.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Indy's famous Combat Pragmatist scene. Ford was among the people on set suffering from dysentery, and wasn't feeling up to doing a big fight.
  • Wicked Cultured: Belloq is a brilliant archaeologist, fluent in many languages, and enjoys fine wine and food.
  • Wilhelm Scream: Twice. First by the Nazi who falls out of the back of the truck and puts his head through Gobler's windshield, and again by a different Nazi when falling off the side of the speeding truck.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: Indiana Jones has nothing to do with the defeat of the Nazis at the end of the movie. He and Marion just shut their eyes and the Nazis are destroyed by the sight of the power of God when they open the Ark. It is one of the most literal examples of Deus ex Machina since the middle ages, and a completely justified one.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: While translating the inscriptions on the headpiece of the Staff of Ra, the translator initially says the staff should be six kadam high, or "about seventy-two inches", as Indy notes. However, the translator then says "And take back one kadam to honor the Hebrew god whose ark this is". So, the staff has to be 5 kadam or about 60 inches long. So, since each kadam is approximately equal to a foot, the proper staff should be 5 feet long. Nevertheless, when Indy is seen using the staff, it's much taller than Harrison Ford, who stands around 6 feet tall.
  • The X of Y: Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • When Indy is wrestling with one of Toht's mercenaries, Toht sees it as an opportunity.
    Toht: Shoot them. Shoot them both.
    Giant Mook: HUH?!//
    • Why Dietrich has Toht throw Marion into the Well of Souls.
    Belloq: The girl was mine!
    Dietrich: She's of no use to us. Only our mission for the Fuhrer matters.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Belloq, at the end of the film.


Indy Disguises himself

The first guard Indy knocks out in the sub pen is too skinny for his shirt to fit. Fortunately, a larger specimen turns up to scold him for being "out of uniform"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / DressingAsTheEnemy

Media sources:

Main / DressingAsTheEnemy